I think around the age of 7 or 8 I remember seeing my first shark and I was instantly enamored and I thought it was absolutely gorgeous and so unique. I ended up actually following after it and I think that same feeling of excitement and intrigue has never left me. Sharks are absolutely essential for healthy marine ecosystems. They pick up the dead, dying weak sick injured animals, keeping lower trophic level populations healthy and in balance. Currently sharks are being killed at a rate that averages out to 2 to 3 sharks every second, That’s 70 to 100 million sharks being killed every year, and it’s just for their fins. So there are targeted fishery for the demand for shark fin soup the delicacy in Asia. It’s traditionally served as a status symbol. They utilize less than 5% of the shark when they’re killing them only for the shark fin soup. At the current rate of decline many shark species will be extinct within our lifetime. Without sharks it’s like being without an immune system. Fisheries collapse, diseases spread, and you have major degradation of reefs and local ecosystems. I understand with the way that sharks are portrayed in mass media that people fear them, but I’m hoping that I can replace that fear with fascination or at least a healthy level of respect for them as apex predators. I definitely encourage people to go out there dive in and see a shark for yourself. It’s so amazing the first time a shark swims by and locks eyes with you, you really realize how intelligent they are and that actually helps support local economies and it shows the value of a live shark versus the fin shark. Shark ecotourism is far more sustainable than killing a shark just for its fins. I hope within the next 5 years we’re able to pass more laws to protect sharks against finning and gain greater protection for the ocean in general. You can support this by signing a petition sharing your voice in social media, and being a conscious consumer. We need sharks for healthy oceans we need sharks for a healthy planet.